Recommended for ages 14+
A teenage girl undergoes a procedure in a hospital. She doesn’t know who she is, has no memories, doesn’t even know what she looks like, but she’s pretty sure the soldiers who just attacked the hospital are after her. Someone has slipped her three pills and instructions, and she’s pretty sure she’s recovering her memories – is she a murderer? A vigilante?
Sarah – she knows that’s her name – was part of a Tabula Rasa (Latin for “blank slate”) program that medically and surgically wiped the memories from teenage delinquents considered beyond help, but as Sarah’s memories return, the story goes far deeper than that. There’s someone in the hospital who knows Sarah’s real story, and wants her dead. With the help of a computer hacker and a group of soldiers – themselves, a botched test group – she may be able to put together the pieces of the puzzle before her time runs out.
Tabula Rasa is a tense, fast-paced story that teens will like. There’s a touch of Bourne Identity here, and a mystery buried under layers of narrative, slowly peeled away until the truth is revealed. While the “big bad” in this is a bit of an over-the-top villain, it was a book that kept me committed. The idea of a society rehabbing anyone, let alone teens, by wiping them clean, is downright horrifying and can be fodder for a great book group talk. Dystopian fans, espionage/thriller readers, and Divergent fans will enjoy this one.
Kristen Lippert-Martin’s author page links to her social media, and blog, provides information about Tabula Rasa, and promises some extras in the near future.